Bruxism is a dental condition associated with chronic grinding and clenching of teeth. Occasional grinding due to emotions such as frustration does not cause any significant harm. However, if this has become habitual for you, there are potential risks for dental and oral complications. Bruxism causes accelerated wear of the teeth, and the dental structure will be shortened severely. This attrition is expensive to treat because you will require implants, crowns or bridges to restore aesthetics and functionality. In addition, you will experience damage to the jaw due to strain, teeth fractures and even tooth loss. Here is a brief description of the causes, symptoms and treatment of bruxism to help you understand the condition.


The causes of teeth grinding are diverse, so the exact root for the condition might not be obvious. One of the common roots of bruxism is malocclusion. If the teeth are misaligned, you may unconsciously clench your teeth to deal with the uncomfortable abnormal bite. Sleep disorders are also risk factors for bruxism. For example, sleep apnoea, a condition which causes regular breathing to be interrupted when one is asleep, will cause body systems strain. This can be manifested in the form of teeth grinding. Continuous stress and anxiety will also contribute to chronic grinding, particularly at night due to subconscious tension. In some cases, this is a focussed habit adapted as a coping strategy for anger and aggression. In addition, you should note that some drugs, such as mood-altering psychotropic pharmaceuticals, will induce bruxism as a side effect.

Symptoms and Signs

The symptoms of bruxism are not always apparent because the grinding often occurs at night. However, you can perform a personal assessment if you suspect that you have the condition. You will notice soreness in the jaw muscles when you awaken and experience tension headaches focused in the temples. In addition, the jaws might become painful when opening and even lock and pop occasionally. You should also examine the surface of the teeth for any signs of damage from grinding. Common indicators include breakage of dental restoration, chipped teeth, cracks and noticeable gradual wear.


The dentist will examine your teeth if you decide to seek professional treatment. Diagnostic photographs, visual examination and an analysis of your medical history will help the doctor to establish an accurate diagnosis. If you seek help early, an occlusal guard will be recommended to reduce the grinding pressure. Advanced cases will require restoration through treatments like fillings, fixed bridgework, implants and veneers. Therefore, you should consult your dentist as early as possible.